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Blog: Catch up and Fill in

You may have noticed, if you follow me on social media or Twitch. that there is a glaring gap in my presence from late February until last week. I’d love to say that I went on an exotic holiday. Maybe I won the lottery? Definitely not.

It started with a pain in the crook of my elbow. I had done a load of hand sewing the previous day and assumed I had irritated some sort of tendon or muscle. Within 12 hours there was a raised hot welt about the size of a £2 coin which then was about the size of my fist 24 hours later. My mum in law is a nurse and she thought it was cellulitis so up I went to the out of hours doctor and got antibiotics. It got better. Then worse. Much worse. Then I developed clots in the veins. Those spread from my wrist to my shoulder. 2 more courses of antibiotics and steroids followed and we thought we were winning until I suddenly couldn’t breathe. One ambulance ride and a lot of tests later, it was discovered that the clots were now in both of my lungs (pulmonary embolism). Which is pretty firmly in the ‘can be life threatening’ category. What complicated matters is that my pre-existing conditions meant it took practically a UN summit to decide on what medication was safe to take. 2 months later, I can honestly say I am beginning to feel better. I am still phenomenally tired and want to nap every 4 hours (good luck with that when you have a cat and a child!) and still have residual pain in the chest plus some arm swelling. The NHS, although pushed to their absolute limits and therefore slow, were fantastic and I hate to think what would have happened if we didn’t have that wonderful service access when it is needed.

So that scrubbed the last week in February, the whole of March and half of April. I had projects on hold which I knew needed finishing and that was quite stressful. Luckily the clients concerned were really understanding. It isn’t easy being self employed and then falling ill, particularly with something that has you bed bound for a number of weeks AND when it involves the very limbs you use to create with! There isn’t sick pay or someone else who can pick up the slack for you. You do feel an enormous sense of panic when you cannot complete something you have started in a timely fashion.

March was also spent in chocolate abstinence. When I told people I was giving up chocolate to raise money for the British Heart Foundation during their DECHOX event, I was met by a spectrum of response from concern, to laughter, to admiration, to ridicule! My name is Hannah and I am a chocoholic. Badly. I love everything chocolatey and this was a huge test (especially when running concurrent to illness and therefore moping). But I raised over £500 for BHF and some lovely folk sent me some delicious treats to celebrate the end of the challenge. Apparently I will be receiving a medal in due course which is very exciting. My mum and my great uncle both have pacemakers due to heart problems and the BHF were a really helpful resource when I was coming to terms with my mums condition.

In other news, I welcomed a new nephew in March – baby Harry! As per my other nephew, I made some bunting with his name on to match his bedroom. I will post some pictures up when I can finally find a space to lay it all out properly. I’m not the best at photographing my creations! I did a quick scrap buster solution to donate to a little boy with sensory needs at my old school. Quite tricky to make when you have sensory needs yourself and just want to play with the fabrics! I also made some ears and a tail for the lovely Octav1us Kitten, star of YouTube and many other projects to come. I’m going to blog about that separately as the process was quite a new one for me, but there are some photos here to show you the outcome. I also finished a stack of promotional cushions for the team at The Code Show, who have a brilliant travelling computing museum. What a time to be alive when the machines you played on as a child are now in a museum haha!

I have plans in the pipeline. My wonderful cosplay for my appearance at PLAY London in August will now not be happening. There’s no way I can complete it properly and take on clients and be a mum and sleep. I will still make it eventually but for now, time and finances preclude starting that one. I have a couple of patterns to make some summer dresses for myself. I purchased these in the whole 5 days of hot weather we had recently – like any true Brit! I have a secret project in the works which you are going to love, but requires a financial outlay so I am just weighing up my options on that front. We also have a new member of the family joining us in two weeks time, Merlin the kitten. Very excited! One last point, if you nip over to Twitter, I am running a gift voucher competition to celebrate reaching 500 followers. Be in it to win it!

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Blog: Ten Gifts a-Gifting

I thought I would write a little blog with some gift ideas for the forthcoming festive season. I’m very (VERY) aware it is only September but for a one man band, this is when we have to start pedalling our wares in order to meet (hopefully) high demand in the run up to Christmas. That and my sons birthday is the week before Christmas. It gets very frantic. With that in mind, if you intend to order something for a loved one and it isn’t a stock item, please don’t delay! Ordering details at the end of this article. I may end up having to close my order books if things look tight so please think ahead. If you aren’t sure if you will want to order something or even what to get, in at number 10 we have…..

 

10 – The Gift Voucher

My gift vouchers are gorgeous if I do say so myself. They have shiny foil block bits and everything. They also have a variety of uses that you may not have thought of. Yes, they do first and foremost make a great gift – especially for the gamer who has everything or loves everything. But they also could be used as a secret Santa gift for the awkward office colleague. What about on your own list to give to Grandma Mildred who otherwise would buy you doilies again? What about as a savings scheme…if you want something you can’t afford right away but don’t want to risk frittering the money on an impulse purchase, buy a voucher once a month or a couple of times a year. I keep a record of all the voucher sales so even if you lose your voucher, I can look it up.

 

9 – The Christmas Card with a Twist

The last time I sent a Christmas card was so long ago because I used to write them, pop the stamps on and forget to post them. However this card is a card and gift all in one. You can write inside it just like a regular card…it even has an envelope. But when teamed with a funky picture frame as an accompanying gift (sourced by you or by me) you also have an individual and unusual gift. The card also doesn’t have to be Christmas themed so it can be displayed all year round.

 

8 – Framed Pieces

Framed pieces look so good on the wall and can be absolutely customised to your hearts content and to suit your budget. They can also be personalised with text or dates for that extra special touch. You can go as wild as you like (well…depending on your budget obviously) to include anything from glitter thread and Swarovski crystals to multi aperture framed character studies. These pieces tend to take a while to get finished to the standard I am happy with so ordering early is imperative.

 

7 – Cushion Covers

I don’t know about you but I think cushions are so boring. Well….except the cushions I make because they are gaming cushions and guaranteed to get noticed. They are slip covers so can easily replace your existing covers or I can source the filling pad for you. Always washable too – none of this dry cleaning nonsense, plus they are guaranteed not to contain any cheesy inspirational phrases or itchy motifs. Cushions should be made to be squishy and snuggle-able so lets keep it that way.

 

6 – The Pouch

Sounds wrong but it’s sooooo versatile. From glasses to phones and Joy Con to scissors, a pouch can be made from any fabric and be left open or have a variety of closures fitted on request including magnetic clasps, Velcro, drawstring etc. These are the very simple version of the more luxury line of portable console protectors, but nonetheless very handy. A great little stocking filler.

 

5 – The Cross Stitched Phone Case

My phone case is like a walking advert for my business. Everyone immediately wants to talk about it, feel the stitches and ask questions. They are made of a silicone-like material with some very small holes that can be sewn through. They make several versions for different phone brands and sizes so I will be able to try and get a fit for your device. These would be really cool as a gift for someone getting a brand new phone as a present. Anything that survives my handbag and pockets is a good indicator of longevity so I can tell you from experience that these are made to last.

 

4 – Gamer Scarf

I’m running an awful risk here because I am having to publish this before I have finished an example. However the gamer scarf is, in my opinion, essential winter wear that keeps your head AND neck warm. It could be designed with different franchises in mind and adapted for your needs (I suffer with cold extremities so pockets will be needed on mine I think!). You get the gist from the illustration on the pattern but it really can be made to your liking. They are made from fleece materials so they are warm with the no-itch pain of woollen scarves.

 

3 – Bows and Bow Ties

For all genders – the bow has become a staple of the wardrobe either as a hair accessory or as a piece of formal attire. My bows are different in that they can be themed around favourite game characters. If you are thinking of a bow for a bow tie, hair clip, Alice band or even as a pin brooch to complement a bag or outfit, I am able to make one that would be reflective of your love of gaming. A great gift or stocking filler.

 

2 – The Luxury Pouch

Luxury pouch sounds even more wrong. But this is a high quality item for your portable device. This one is sized for the New 2DS/3DS XL but can be adapted to fit retro portables such as the Game Boy or Game Gear or other modern portables such as the PS Vita or even the Switch. Luxury pouches can also be used to house controllers that need a little extra protection. I’m a big portable gamer so I know the needs…my luxury pouches are soft fleece lined, double seamed on the corners to prevent splits and strong thread is used. The closure can be one of your choosing such as drawstring, Velcro or toggle/button. They are excellent for preventing damage through scratching, knocks and bumps. A really ideal item if you are a commuter who games on the go or just want an additional level of protection.

 

1 – The Dock Sock

Yes I spelt that right…hot tipped to be high on the lists of gamers everywhere is a Nintendo Switch. Even those who already have one might want a dock sock because of the inherent risk of screen scratches when docking and un-docking the screen section to game on the go. The little stick on screen protectors are OK but I know that I will get an air bubble in mine every single time. I also know that replacing a scratched screen isn’t an option. Enter the dock sock. Its a very simple little rectangular sock that pops over the front panel of the Switch and thereby reducing the risk of scratching when the screen is moved. They offer protection while being thin enough not to interfere with the charging dock mechanisms. They can also be made with your favourite games in mind and are small enough to store easily so that you could buy a few and change them as often as you change your own socks!

 

How to order:

You can get in touch with me via email at sew8bit@gmail.com or DM me on Twitter @sew8bit – I am also on Facebook @sew8bit

Stock items are always listed on Etsy but if you don’t see something there, it doesn’t mean I won’t make it!

There is a contact page on my website that you can go to – while you’re there you can also browse my other completed projects for more inspiration.